Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Canadian Immigration - Harriet Tubman

Immigration has always been one of the hottest issues in many countries and Canada is not an exception. All too often exploited by political parties, it still incites different reactions among ordinary people whose opinions on the issue differ considerably. Nowadays, the prevailing belief is that immigrants in Canada represent one of the country's invaluable assets in practically all spheres of life. The conditions for the new arrivers are constantly improving and that's why more and more foreigners choose Canada as their new home. However, not everyone knows the hardships that some immigrants had to go through in order to get to Canada several decades ago. One of those who contributed a great deal to alleviate these hardships was Harriet Tubman - a woman who saved a number of slaves by providing them with a network of safe houses and many other necessities on their way from the United States to Canada.

Harriet Tubman's relationship with Canada was the result of her frequent voyages with American slaves who escaped from their masters. Canada was the country that welcomed her family and from which Harriet could plan her secret trips to bring more and more slaves from the United States. The system she later developed with the help of other abolitionists was known as the Underground Railroad - a network of people willing to provide all kinds of support to the slaves escaping to the North or to Canada. From the historical perspective the system is compared to the American Revolution in a way it united people in their anger against certain principles that they believed were detrimental to the whole nation. What really mattered during this particular period was the wisdom with which Harriet pursued her goals. Though she never learnt to read or write she was led by her natural abilities acquired during the time spent as a slave in Maryland. Above all it was Harriet's perfect sense for orientation in the country she was forced to abandon a few years ago. Her desire to be free was so strong that she rather preferred death to living as a slave. "I had reasoned this out in my mind; there was one of two things I had a right to, liberty, or death; if I could not have one, I would have the other;... ". In the eyes of those who found a new way of life in Canada Tubman became a symbol of leadership for which she earned the nickname Moses - a religious hero who led the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. Similarly, Canada was the promised land for a great number of African-Americans as well as the place where Tubman was finally united with her own family. For a certain period of her life she herself settled in St. Catharines - a village with the largest number of fugitive slaves from the United States.

Harriet Tubman's life was full of personal deceptions and suffering. Yet she was able to overcome all of this and use her own experience for the good of others at a time when the future of the black community in the Americas was unpredictable. She strove unceasingly to fight for the human rights of all slaves living under oppression and tyranny. Not only did she save many of them during her lifetime but she also inspired many others who followed her example and contributed to the gradual decay of slavery in the United States as well as the development of Canadian immigration.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Fun Outdoor Learning With Kids

Some of the best childhood skills and development goals are learnt passively, whilst outside and having fun. As a parent, it is all too easy to obsess about literacy and numeracy development whilst excluding a more holistic approach to education that sees a child expressing themselves naturally and following their own instinctive creativity. Outdoor learning is a great way to engage your child through their desire to play, build and imagine - developing skills intuitively, organically and through trial and error. But when it comes to the range of outdoor learning resources available, it is easy to understand why parents get confused.

Much that is available online promises to help your child with a particular skill or ability, but how do you know it is suitable for them? They key thing is to tailor anything you buy to your child and make sure that they are going to be interested before you stump up the cash. Although many manufacturers are keen to emphasise the universality of what they provide, only you know your child well enough to realise that forcing them to play a game which will help with phonics development will last all of five minutes if they are more interested in making shapes in the mud. Instead, find something constructive, like letter pebbles that can be incorporated into building games, or an outdoor chalkboard that will let them unleash their creativity in a way that is not subject to artificially imposed boundaries.

Outdoor learning resources need not be high-tech or expensive to be effective. Just hunting for letters as you walk down the street, or using crayons to make wax rubbings of sign numbers are great ways of engaging a child with the outside world and showing the relationship between concepts and things. Some children prefer to explore things rather than being told about how they work and if that is the case, then find a way of stimulating their minds - incorporating their interest into the outside world.

A nature trail is a great way to stimulate a child's imagination and ideas that have been explored outside can be brought back home to prompt them in other games and activities. Outdoor learning is not just about developing new skills in the orthodox sense, it is also about giving them the confidence and ability to engage with the world in new ways and help them to navigate their own learning experience with ease. By doing so, you ensure that nothing is hindering them on the road to great educational success.